Pink Floyd: The Division Bell (20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)

Welcome to the machine.

Pink Floyd

The Division Bell (20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)

Label: Parlophone
US Release Date: 2014-06-30
UK Release Date: Import

I started writing about music in 2002, when Tarwater came to town. A gig like many others, but the cunning art of self-admiration, combined with the romantic idea of receiving free albums and press passes kept me going for quite a few years. I have had many a chance to review groundbreaking albums like the Strokes’ Room on Fire, or the Darkness’ late glam masterpiece Permission to Land, and I honestly felt rather embarrassed for those who had to come up with idiotic Pindaric flights to shamelessly tell us that, yes, rock music was reaching a new high. Luckily for me, I never had to review a new Pink Floyd record and I will probably keep myself at a safe distance next time something comes out.

But there is nothing to fear with The Division Bell. It is an album that is OK to dislike. When it came out, in 1994, most critics saw it as the elegant, albeit ineluctable evidence of the fact that Pink Floyd’s inspirational juices were all but gone. Those were the so-called (not without a hint of malice) “Gilmour years”, when his guitar, that sliding, that minimalism that ironically made the band’s sound too complete, those blues licks and those minor pentatonic scales were almost all that Pink Floyd was about. But the record sold millions of copies and became the last studio album to be released by the remaining members of the band -- the late Richard Wright, Nick Mason and the aforementioned iconic guitarist.

Although not playing an active role in the making of the album, founder Roger Waters is indeed a presence to be reckoned with. The Division Bell is an album inspired by a mix of angst, resentment and disillusion, most of them aimed at the betrayal of the spirit which pervaded Europe at the end of the previous decade ("A Great Day for Freedom"), but it is undeniable that Waters is somehow at the receiving end of tunes like “What Do You Want from Me” or “Poles Apart”. A lot has been said and indeed will continue to be said about the lasting legacy of Pink Floyd, a band so capable of appealing to the educated ear as well as to the occasional listener. And whilst this box will not contribute any succulent insight to the debate, it undoubtedly provides the perfect soundtrack.

The sound, on this Deluxe Collector’s Edition box, has been treated to a 5.1 surround sound mix, remastered from the original analogue masters on a 2-LP 180-gram vinyl featuring full length tracks for the first time. And as if it weren’t enough, the box contains a red seven-inch vinyl replica of "Take It Back”, a clear 7-inch and a 12-inch vinyl replica of "High Hopes" with reverse laser etched design, the 2011 Discovery remaster of The Division Bell, and a Blu-ray disc including the album in HD Audio and a new music video for the Grammy-winning track "Marooned". You know. The usual.

Is this box worth the money it is on sale for ($125.88 on Amazon)? With a Pink Floyd album, this is a matter of subjectivity. The average buyer knows exactly what they’re getting, so no word of advice is needed or, indeed, sought. The Division Bell is what it is: not the best Pink Floyd album and, yet, a sonic masterpiece.





The Top 20 Punk Protest Songs for July 4th

As punk music history verifies, American citizenry are not all shiny, happy people. These 20 songs reflect the other side of patriotism -- free speech brandished by the brave and uncouth.


90 Years on 'Olivia' Remains a Classic of Lesbian Literature

It's good that we have our happy LGBTQ stories today, but it's also important to appreciate and understand the daunting depths of feeling that a love repressed can produce. In Dorothy Strachey's case, it produced the masterful Olivia.


Indie Rocker Alpha Cat Presents 'Live at Vox Pop' (album stream)

A raw live set from Brooklyn in the summer of 2005 found Alpha Cat returning to the stage after personal tumult. Sales benefit organizations seeking to end discrimination toward those seeking help with mental health issues.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

‘The Avengers’ Offer a Lesson for Our Time of COVID-19

Whereas the heroes in Avengers: Endgame stew for five years, our grief has barely taken us to the after-credit sequence. Someone page Captain Marvel, please.


Between the Grooves of Nirvana's 'Nevermind'

Our writers undertake a track-by-track analysis of the most celebrated album of the 1990s: Nirvana's Nevermind. From the surprise hit that brought grunge to the masses, to the hidden cacophonous noise-fest that may not even be on your copy of the record, it's all here.


Deeper Graves Arrives via 'Open Roads' (album stream)

Chrome Waves, ex-Nachtmystium man Jeff Wilson offers up solo debut, Open Roads, featuring dark and remarkable sounds in tune with Sisters of Mercy and Bauhaus.

Featured: Top of Home Page

The 50 Best Albums of 2020 So Far

Even in the coronavirus-shortened record release schedule of 2020, the year has offered a mountainous feast of sublime music. The 50 best albums of 2020 so far are an eclectic and increasingly "woke" bunch.


First Tragedy, Then Farce, Then What?

Riffing off Marx's riff on Hegel on history, art historian and critic Hal Foster contemplates political culture and cultural politics in the age of Donald Trump in What Comes After Farce?


HAIM Create Their Best Album with 'Women in Music Pt. III'

On Women in Music Pt. III, HAIM are done pretending and ready to be themselves. By learning to embrace the power in their weakest points, the group have created their best work to date.


Amnesia Scanner's 'Tearless' Aesthetically Maps the Failing Anthropocene

Amnesia Scanner's Tearless aesthetically maps the failing Anthropocene through its globally connected features and experimental mesh of deconstructed club, reggaeton, and metalcore.


How Lasting Is the Legacy of the Live 8 Charity Concert?

A voyage to the bottom of a T-shirt drawer prompts a look back at a major event in the history of celebrity charity concerts, 2005's Live 8, Philadelphia.


Jessie Ware Embraces Her Club Culture Roots on Rapturous 'What's Your Pleasure?'

British diva Jessie Ware cooks up a glittery collection of hedonistic disco tracks and delivers one of the year's best records with What's Your Pleasure.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.